1949 – 1952
Serving as an interim substitute to the planned specialized “sub-killer cruisers” such as Norfolk (CLK-1), Carpenter’s modifications emphasized electronic equipment and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) weaponry over the standard destroyer antiaircraft and torpedo armament. Designed to counter Soviet high-speed snorkel-equipped diesel submarines similar to the German World War II-era Type-XXIs, Carpenter was equipped with a trainable Hedgehog, two Weapon Alfa anti-submarine rocket launchers, anti-submarine torpedoes, and numerous depth charges, in addition to torpedo countermeasure equipment, towed decoys and an improved sonar system.
While Carpenter fit out at Norfolk, the ship’s designation was changed to DDE (escort destroyer) on 4 March 1950. Like her three sister ships, Basilone (DDE-824), Epperson (DDE-719), and Robert A. Owen (DDE-827), Carpenter conducted a shakedown cruise and intensive ASW training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, later that spring. On 26 June the destroyer got underway for the Pacific, transited the Panama Canal on 1 July, and arrived at her new homeport, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 13 July.
Despite the outbreak of war in Korea in June 1950, the emphasis of U.S. naval construction programs gravitated towards research platforms and the development of prototype systems rather than perfecting mass production designs. Carpenter thus became a test bed for Norfolk (CLK-1), herself an experimental ASW warship, and was assigned to the Anti-Submarine Hunter-Killer Force out of Pearl Harbor.
Carpenter began her first cruise to the Korean war zone on 4 February 1952 when she departed Pearl for duty in the Western Pacific. After arrival in Yokosuka, Japan, the destroyer conducted a Hunter-Killer training exercise off Okinawa before reporting to Task Force 77 (TF 77) on 3 March. Operating with the Fast Carrier Force, she spent the next month screening aircraft carriers and honing her ASW skills, missions interspersed with two trips to Wonsan harbor to pick up downed pilots for transportation back to the task force.
After completing a Formosa Straits patrol in April, Carpenter joined TF 95.1, the United Nations Blockading and Escort Force operating in the Yellow Sea. While attached to a carrier group, which included British, Australian and Canadian warships, Carpenter screened the flattops during flight operations and carried out several shore bombardment missions, including one against Ch’o Do Island.
Returning to Pearl Harbor for a refit, the destroyer conducted a series of local training operations off Hawaii in July and August following the completion of those repairs and alterations. Then, in September, she departed for Eniwetok Atoll to participate in two atmospheric thermonuclear tests in Operation Ivy. During those evolutions, Carpenter conducted ASW patrols to keep Soviet submarines from observing the tests in between her duties as plane guard for Rendova (CVE-114), whose planes flew patrol and reconnaissance missions in the region. With both detonations complete by 16 November, Carpenter received her radiological clearance inspection and departed the next day, arriving at Pearl on 24 November.
1953 – 1959
Resuming local operations in Hawaii, she remained there until May 1953 when Carpenter steamed to the Far East for operations with TF 77. After rendezvous with light cruiser Manchester (CL-83) in early June, the destroyer proceeded to North Korea for a shore bombardment mission against gun positions in Hungnam harbor on 12 June. Although 12 rounds of 75-millimeter fire from shore batteries fell near Carpenter, she suffered neither hits nor casualties.
Following a tender availability in Sasebo, Japan, the destroyer spent the next month screening the fast carriers. After returning to Yokosuka for a short refit on 29 July, Carpenter departed 11 August for a Formosa patrol. This evolution included screen operations with carrier Boxer (CVA-21) and battleship New Jersey (BB-62) and radar tracking of numerous Chinese communist aircraft contacts. Returning to Kobe, Japan, on 6 September, the destroyer spent the next two months conducting ASW and screening operations in Korean waters.
Departing Yokosuka on 30 October, Carpenter sailed to Pearl Harbor for an extensive refit. Minor repairs, tactical drills, and crew training occupied the ship until the summer of 1954 when she returned to the western Pacific. In September, during the Quemoy and Matsu crisis between Communist China and the Nationalists on Formosa, Carpenter patrolled the Taiwan Straits for thirteen tense days before the crisis passed. The destroyer remained in the region for the next three months, screening Boxer, conducting various Hunter-Killer (HUK) ASW exercises, and patrolling the Formosa Straits. In January 1955, in line with the mutual defense treaty between Taiwan and the United States, Carpenter helped convoy Nationalist forces as they evacuated the Tachen Islands.
After returning to Hawaii that spring, Carpenter resumed her regular routine of local operations and ASW exercises out of Pearl. Her fourth cruise began on 4 January 1956 when the destroyer set sail for the western Pacific. Operating out of Yokosuka, the destroyer conducted extensive antisubmarine warfare (ASW) training with ships of the 7th Fleet, visited ports in the Philippines and Hong Kong, and operated with units of the Royal Australian Navy.
Returning to Pearl Harbor on 9 June, the destroyer underwent an extensive overhaul, followed by the now familiar pattern of local operations, crew training, and constant ASW exercises. In a change of pace the following spring, Carpenter departed Hawaii on 15 March 1957 for a series of goodwill port visits throughout the South Pacific. The destroyer stopped at American Samoa, Manus in the Admiralty Islands and Sydney, Australia, before returning to Hawaii on 28 August. Later that fall, Carpenter underwent an overhaul and received two of the new 3-inch/70 "quick-firing" antiaircraft gun mounts for testing and evaluation.
The destroyer continued this pattern of deployments for the next three years: local operations out of Pearl Harbor followed by a deployment and operations with a Hunter-Killer ASW Group out of Japan, and then return for